March at Pasaj-Cap was a month of birthday parties, of celebrations of semi-notable occurrences (i.e. a hummingbird nest) and of organized excursions almost exclusively limited to hikes or meals or, when everything really came together, hikes followed by meals. March also saw a lot of rum drank. You know what they say, “in like a lion, out like a drunken expat”. Now for a brief update on the various rather activities that fill our days around here, mundane on an individual basis, but surely compelling as a complete unit.
Most Saturdays we hike 2 1/2 hours from our place all the way around the end of the lake to San Pedro where we indulge in the absurdly large and reasonably-priced El Barrio brunch (fruit bowl, soup, omelet, potatoes, salad, topped off by copious stacks of all-you-can-eat pancakes, but only if you’re up to it). Some never miss it, we often do it, a few others aren’t so interested in the hike but never miss out on the food. Anyway, one day we showed up and found our large, shaded, normally reserved table already taken, forcing us to push a couple small tables together and huddle under a single umbrella like chumps. It just goes to show, you never know when disaster might strike.
Lost 3-1 to Liverpool, lost 5-1 to Bayern Munich, lost 3-1 to West Brom. West Brom! On the bright side, they did actually win a game in March, against 5th division Lincoln City, a team I had never heard of before that game, and who multiple British friends of mine couldn’t actually point out on a map. So that was pretty epic.
Laynni’s Birthday Marathon
Nothing is quite so exciting, and so clearly deserving of multiple parties, meticulously organized events and nearly an entire month of festivities than someone reaching the incredible milestone age of “somewhere in their early 40’s”. Therefore, Laynni was treated to a string of variably outrageous celebrations throughout March, most of which she ended up organizing herself, as she is wont to do. It all started with the first annual Pasaj-Cap decathlon, a ridiculous agenda of ten absurd party-type games focusing on hand-eye coordination, the ability to handle your alcohol, the strategic choosing of round fruits and, of course, several games testing the ability to both transport things and make them practically disappear using nothing but your rectum.
We also had a BBQ.
We also had a lasagna party.
We also had a pool party.
They all involved eating a lot and drinking even more.
My irritatingly feeble February finally seems fully in the rear-view mirror, as I actually managed to make it through a month unscathed by colds, flus or general malaise. Although I did possibly break one of my toes getting out of the shower, naturally, so that sucked, but it wasn’t really one of the important ones and besides being an unsightly purple these days it has barely affected my carefree sauntering lifestyle. I was even healthy enough to succeed in gutting out a full 90 minutes at one of my Internacional matches in only semi-sluggish fashion, despite almost immediately having the particular toe in question promptly stomped on. Laynni, however, suffered through a period of strange bouts of vertigo, which hindered her morning yoga, added an edgy shot of adrenalin to some of our narrow ridge hikes and made rolling over in bed a risky venture on par with racing along a narrow guard-rail after half a dozen stiff drinks (circa 2010?). Even stranger was that Peter, a fellow Pasaj-Capper affectionately known in our Men’s Spiritual Group as Piedra (“the Stone”), where he is joined by Butterfly, Persimmon, Mist and Bobby-Pin, was fighting his own flare-up of vertigo at the same time. Nothing we could find online suggested vertigo is in any way contagious, though, and since they both firmly refused to participate in any all-vertigo three-legged races or chicken-fights simply for our amusement, really, the whole thing ended up being of no benefit to us at all.
As we get further and further into the dry season the roads and trails get dustier and more annoying with each passing day. Then it rained one day, which surprised us all, then a little while later it got dusty again.
Oh yeah, one day we went hiking and it was real foggy, too. You just never know.
One morning Laynni is doing yoga in the living room and I’m in the bathroom, just going about my business, splashing water on my face, like I do, when suddenly I hear a commotion, some weird loud rustling and she screams. I quickly start to straighten up, despite the fact there are still whole sections of my forehead and beard that have yet to be properly splashed, and I feel something brush past the top of my head, my startled eyes catching just a glimpse of a fleeting shadow rushing past in the mirror, followed immediately by a huge crash against the shower window (it’s all windows, really, explain our neighbours enthusiastically) and a strange thump and rattle of the small metal garbage can. After first hightailing out of the bathroom like I was fleeing a converging military invasion in order to take a brief moment to gather myself, and quickly check for signs of heart trauma, I ever..so…carefully peaked back in, only to see an extremely distraught and apparently bleeding dove also taking a moment to gather himself after what was presumably an enormously stressful four second ordeal. Fast forward a couple minutes to a window very slowly and cautiously opened, a trash bin very slowly and gingerly lifted, and a panicky bird bursting forth to freedom narrowly missing my cringing face. So that’s what happened that day.
Happy Hour Palapa Renovations
In response to our ever-growing afternoon Happy Hours (from 4 people, to 8, to indeterminate, and certainly never short on rum) Pierre enlisted some of his guys to make some renovations that would increase capacity and further trouble anyone in the vicinity struggling with either sobriety or an aversion to listening to strangers babble on about vegetable prices and wildly speculate about the weather. In addition to a second table, some more chairs and a custom-made bench, the key change was an expansion of the concrete pad. About 4 feet by 10 feet strategically added to the side directly at the top of the stairs upon arrival, and still fairly wet by the time we arrived at 5:30. From this we learned four things:
1) Having several people all shout warnings at the same time just as a new person reaches the top of the stairs may in fact have the opposite effect to the one intended, and ultimately result in the subject of these confusing directives stepping directly into the wet concrete, after all.
2) Sometimes people our age, who have perhaps already started drinking, don’t always learn their lesson the first time. And possibly those people will do the exact same thing when the next girl arrives, yelling the exact same bewildering warnings, which will potentially lead to this second person also stepping in the wet concrete, perchance in exactly the same recently repaired footprint.
3) When an older lady who has most definitely already been drinking arrives in a frenzied state of excitement, she will potentially ignore even the most subdued and careful warnings (eventually even we realized the need to change our tactics) and actually spend a considerable amount of time walking to and fro on the wet concrete, describing erratic circles in her agitated confusion. Luckily she was pretty light.
4) After three consecutive mishaps even the normally tireless Diego tires of fixing up after us. Luckily we have a retired contractor on hand (his retainer consists entirely of Botran rum) who was just dying to recapture a bit of trowelling glory. This contractor is also the reason I went back and changed all mentions of “cement” to “concrete”. He can be a bit finicky.
Some of the other things besides Laynni’s birthday that we celebrated in March:
Other people’s birthdays
A hummingbird nest
The Saga of the Hummingbird Nest
In the rooftop palapa next to where Laynni does her morning yoga, there once was a hammock loop with, alas, no hammock currently strung. For one reason or another – hummingbirds are notoriously flighty and irrational – a presumably female hummingbird began the long, slow process of building a nest. Despite the obvious problems with this location, such as being completely exposed, uncomfortably close to human lounging devices, periodically in close proximity to a woman contorting her body into strange formations at an ungodly hour of the morning and, of course, being at imminent risk of annihilation should anyone choose to re-hang the hammock, Mrs. Hummingbird seemed oddly content with her decision, working away at it with a frenetic singularity of purpose really only common to energetic hummingbirds and tweekers in the midst of a Mr. Robot marathon. Well, I’m sure you will be happy to hear that two weeks later disaster has so far been averted thanks to a multitude of cautionary warnings and the occasional informational tour. There are now two eggs in the nest, and mom rarely leaves, only venturing out now and then to track down another great twig to further fortify the nest, or maybe a particularly awesome piece of hair. The pending chicks have already been named via a shockingly contentious group vote. Chick number one will be known as “Cortez” even though everyone knows that is just the sort of name you would give to a merciless and corrupt dictator, and young hummingbirds can be cruel about things like that. Number two will be christened “Bijou”, despite this name being seen by some as “way too French” or “simply ridiculous”. Vigorous objections aside, however, these are the names they will be forever known as, or at least until they learn to fly and we never see them again for as long as we live. Unsurprisingly, “Tweets” received very little love in the voting process, likewise “Hummy the Hummingbird” (Laynni’s lazy homage to previous favourites “Ellie the Elephant”, “Cammy the Camel” and “Homey the Homeless Man”), and somehow “Randy”, or “Randi” if it turned out to be a girl, got just a single vote despite its impressive and sensible versatility.
Looking ahead to April:
More seasonal defections
The annual fair in San Marcos featuring the “tiny yet still crazy unsafe” Ferris wheel